The Russian military said Monday it bombed the Palmyra region, a stronghold in Syria jihadist organization Islamic State (EI), in a review of its strikes the past two days.
Russian planes destroyed a “defensive position” and “anti-aircraft batteries” of EI in the Palmyra region, according to a statement from the Ministry of Defense, which announced the bombing of 237 “terrorist” targets in Syria in two days.
Khaled al-Homsi, a resident of the city, the Russians struck the citadel located on a hill just west of the ancient city of Palmyra. “The extent of the damage could not be verified,” he told AFP.
The director of the Syrian Observatory of Human Rights (SOHR), Rami Abdel Rahman, confirmed the Russian bombing of Palmyra area. He said the strikes hit the famous ancient city, a World Heritage Site by Unesco.
Mr. Abdel Rahman could not provide more details on Palmyra but said in this very central province of Homs, the Russian strikes likely had at least 10 deaths and injuries to Al Qaryataïn, a city under control the IU.
For his part, the Director of Antiquities and Museums in Syria Maamoun Abdulkarim told AFP does not have information on Russian raids in Palmyra.
The Russian Defense Ministry had already said its planes had struck near Palmyra, insisting they had carefully avoided archaeological sites.
Syrian television had said in early October that Russian aircraft had carried out strikes against EI in and around Palmyra.
Taking advantage of the civil war to establish itself in Syria, EI seized May 21 in Palmyra, 205 km east of Damascus, after driving out government forces. This jihadist group has carried out summary executions and widespread destruction of archaeological treasures.
The statement of the Russian Ministry of Defense, the Russian aircraft conducted 131 attractions in two days and hit targets in the provinces of Hama (center), Homs (center), Latakia (west), Aleppo (north-west) Raqa (east) and in the Damascus area.
In the suburbs of the city of Aleppo, a camp which was used to prepare from abroad fighters has been destroyed, the ministry said.
And Salma city of Latakia province already bombed several times by the Russian Aviation, Moscow said it had hit a command post of the al-Nosra Front, the Syrian branch of Al Qaeda, which was used particularly disturbing radio communications by government forces.
Since the beginning of the end of September intervention in Syria, Russia says only go after the organization Islamic State and other groups “terrorists” at the request of the Damascus regime.
Washington and its allies say that Russian raids are rather intended to save the regime of President Bashar al-Assad and rebel groups targeting the jihadists rather than the EI.